Andy Akiho has written a lot of music for steel pan and percussion. Today’s video features a new orchestration of a piece he wrote in 2007. Check out his website for more music and sheet music.
“Karakurenai” (Japanese for “foreign crimson”) was originally written for solo prepared steel pan in June 2007 as part of the Synesthesia Suite; however, this piece can be performed on any combination of instruments and can include elements of improvisation if the performer desires. The original steel pan version is prepared with cylindrical magnets placed on four pitches (C, G, D, & A). These preparations cause the four notes to drop a semitone and produce a muted timbre (for example, using these preparations, ‘C,’ the lowest note of the instrument, sounds like a muted ‘B,’ one half-step below the original). The ostinato, or repeated pattern, in the right hand is played with the cardboard tube of a dry cleaner coat hanger, while the left hand plays the melody with a wooden chopstick.